As regular readers may note, I am cleaning up loose ends before I move on. For example, I finally posted the Rules of Engagement page I had drafted sometime Aprilish when we’d had a visit from a concerned but kind self-promoter (some might say “concern troll”) who thought I was presenting an unnecessarily dark (I would say realistic) impression of weight-loss maintenance. The Rules page is no longer applicable, of course, but to people who come visiting when the blog is closed down and who happen upon the post that inspired it, it will make sense.
I had also meant, shortly after I opened the blog, to say a word or two about plastic surgery. In my initial post on The Unfairness of Weight-Loss Maintenance, I mentioned the issue of loose skin.
“Unfairness 7. You hide a secret under your clothes: your body may be deformed. Friends say you look great, but naked in front of the mirror you find your pendulous parts and saggy skin discouraging. Some maintainers may need counseling; others undergo expensive plastic surgery.”
Well, I was one who went for plastic surgery. I think it is important to talk about this issue openly. So often it is reduced to a mere vanity concern, and it is not.
For some people, I imagine radical weight loss presents a pleasing image, if not nude, then in clothing. For many of us, however, if our skin is not elastic any more, losing radical weight results in a mirror image that we don’t recognize. It doesn’t even look like a human as we have come to understand it. The loose folds may conceal the parts that make us sexually capable and deform those parts that we heretofore thought defined us as sexually appealing.
Many naturally trim people regard fat people as asexual or unappealing regardless, and Madison Avenue does much to perpetuate this notion. Sadly, many fat people buy into the myth as well. That, however, was not my experience with my own fat body. On the way up, weightwise, I became accustomed to my ever increasing curves, lumps and bumps over the years it took to acquire them. I was joyful, sexual and fully human and, to my thinking, a Boticelli babe. On the way down it was very different. Within a period of months, I became a conglomeration of saggy parts. I didn’t adapt well to this change. For example, during intimate times with my husband, instead of being present in the moment and contemplating how to please him, I became self-conscious. I positioned myself so he wouldn’t grab handfuls of flesh.
In my more mundane moments, as well, my body would remind me of its new predicament. As I ran or did other aerobic exercise, the loose parts would bounce about distractingly. Sometimes they would grow itchy from this bouncing, or hurt. It made me angry and sad.
I decided, because I could, to get plastic surgery. I won’t go into the details of the process. Actually, No Celery has produced a nice accounting of a tummy tuck, if you want that. What I would like to do however, is issue a cautionary note, both to people who are considering plastic surgery after radical weight loss and people who are in a position to support them … or not. Read the rest of this entry »